John Lackey makes Red Sox spring debut

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John Lackey, signed to a five-year, $82.5 million contract in December, made his debut in a Red Sox uniform on Saturday.

He did quite well, needing just 19 pitches (11 strikes) to cruise through two innings of work against the Twins.  The right-hander collected one strikeout, two flyouts, and forced three groundouts.

“I felt like my delivery was on time, fastball was coming out pretty
decent for the first time,” Lackey said after the outing. “Just a good starting step.”

Lackey stuck mostly to his two-seam and four-seam fastball while also working in a few curves.  Red Sox manager Terry Francona has not yet decided where his three potential No. 1 starters — Lackey, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett — will fit into Boston’s 2010 rotation, but it really doesn’t matter all that much.  The Sox are stacked again, even more so with Lackey and his 3.81 career ERA on board, and should contend for the AL East crown all season long.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.